07/08/13One of my main interests is bird photography but it is a frustrating and challenging aspect of the hobby. The reason for this is simple; most British birds are small, shy or congregate in the middle of lakes etc. Take for example the image of the Little Egret - this was taken with a Canon 7D and 100mm - 400m at 400mm zoom lens from a distance of around 200 - 300 metres. Even with this set up which gives a magnification of around 12 - 13 times the bird is still quite small in the frame. There are obviously some solutions :-
Get close - helps if you have a hide or the birds are tame as in my garden bird shots.
Crop the image - I have always found significant cropping shows sensor noise up and although it can be dealt with to some extent in Lightroom etc. I still find it an issue especially on the 7D with its cropped sensor.
Buy a 500mm or 600m lens - great solution if I had a spare £8,000 - £10,000 available, which I don't; nevertheless I am sure it is the best solution.
This is therefore the background to the frustration - so I am carrying out an experiment using a Canon SX50HS bridge camera which has an amazing 50 times zoom reaching up to 1200mm or the equivalent of 24 times magnification. The results should be appalling - the SX50 has a sensor area of 28 sq. mm whereas the 7D is nearly 12 times that at 332 sq. mm but recent reviews have reported that in good light results are surprising and I would have to agree. Over the next few weeks I will try and compare the SX50 with my other cameras but the initial results are very encouraging for a camera that is nearly 30 times cheaper than using an SLR and 500mm lens